The Houston Police Department has an Explorer Program for young adult’s ages 14-21 years old. This program is a mentor program to teach young people life skills and policing in today’s society.
The Westside Station’s Explorer program has been in operation for almost eight years and is run by Officers M. Prause, L. Chaney, K. Martinez and C. Pocasangre.
Westside’s Post currently has 16 young adults actively participating. Most of the Westside Explorers are from the Alief area. The Explorer program has a chain of command that closely resembles HPD. There is one Explorer commander, one Explorer lieutenant, two Explorer sergeants and 12 Explorers in two “squads.”
Six past members of the Westside Post are now Houston police officers and one past member is a Harris County deputy. Nineteen past members are in the United States Military (Including one cctive member of the Post currently on deployment in Guatemala with the United States Air Force. This member is also in the Background Investigation Unit of the HPD application process.
The Explorer program does scenario-based training on real police-type calls. The Explorers not only learn police skills, but they also compete against other Explorer teams throughout the state and country. Explorers also serve their communities by completing numerous community service projects.
In April, the Westside Explorers went to a competition in Fort Worth, where they competed against other Explorer chapters from throughout Texas. Other departments represented at the competition were Arlington PD, Beaumont PD, Bedford PD, Burleson PD, Chambers County SO, Grand Prairie PD, Plano PD, Richardson PD and Tomball PD.
At this competition, the HPD Westside Explorers won first place in Overall Team. The team also took first in “Robbery Investigations,” “Arrest, Search and Seizures,” “Domestic Violence” and “Active Shooter.”
The team won second place in “CIT Investigations,” “Misdemeanor Traffic Stops” and “Burglary Investigations” and took third in “Felony Traffic Stops” and “Officer Down scenarios.”